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Individual And Social Factors Associated With Workplace Injuries

4661 words - 19 pages

Introduction

636,000 Australians injured themselves in a work-related injury in the period 2009-2010. Of these injured Australians, 88% continued to work in their same place, 5.2% had to change their jobs, and 6.9% were no longer employed. Men continue to be the most injured individuals in workplace injuries (56%) with the highest rates of injury in the 45-49 years (72 per 1000 people) and 20-24 years (63 per 1000 people) age groups. Furthermore, 59% of these 636,000 Australians injured in workplace injuries received financial assistance from workers compensation claims, 36% did not apply for financial assistance and 5% applied but did not receive any financial assistance. The most common ...view middle of the document...

Individual factors associated with work place injuries
Gender is associated as a contributing individual factor in workplace injuries and fatalities. In particular, more males than females are injured and prone to workplace fatalities. In the period 2009-2010, 356, 229 men experienced workplace injuries in Australia. This amounts to 55.6% of the total number of reported work injuries (640, 700). The most common types of workplace injuries for men were: sprain and strains (30%), chronic joint and muscle conditions (18%) and cuts and open wound injuries (16%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Furthermore, more males are represented in higher injury risk occupations. Of the 356,229 men who experienced work related injuries in the period 2009-2010, 30% were Technicians/Tradesman, 19% were Labourers, 15% were Machine Operators/Drivers, 18% were Manufacturing Workers, 16% were Construction Workers, and 10% were Transport/Warehousing Workers (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010).

The high representation of males in workplace injuries and fatalities raises some interesting questions: Why are men overrepresented in workplace injuries and fatalities? Do men cause higher rates of workplace injury and fatalities? Two sets of competing explanations are offered in current literature. The first explanation posits that men, as a gender category, engage in higher risk taking behaviours that results in higher workplace place injuries and fatalities (Berdahl, 2008; Brogmus, 2007; Islam, 2001). This view posits that men cause higher rates of injuries and fatalities due to their innate, essentialist gender based propensity to engage in higher risk taking behaviours. The second explanation posits that men, as a gender category, engage in higher employment in higher risk occupational sectors where higher workplace injuries and fatalities often occur (Gluck, 1998; Manchikanti, 2002; Smith, 2005; Sulsky, 2000). This view posits that it is not the men who cause workplace injuries, but that these men find themselves employed in high risk jobs and work environments that are more likely to cause higher rates of injuries and fatalities. The social nature and organisational factors of such high risk work environments exposes these men to higher risks and dangers related to workplace injuries and fatalities.

Age is associated as a contributing individual factor in workplace injuries and fatalities. In Australia, the highest rates of workplace injuries experienced by men were in the age groups of 45-49 years (72 per 1000 people) and 20-24 years (63 per 1000 people). The lowest age group for injured men was 65 years and over (30 per 1000 people) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Work Safe Australia reports similar patterns in workers compensation claims for the period 2007-2008. The highest number of claims from injured workers for workers compensation were in the 45-49 years age group (13.7%), followed closely by the 40-44 years age group (12.4%) and...

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